Baseball: Huge innning lifts Elgin past Barrington
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org May 24, 2012 9:44PM
Elgin's Gage Teschner (left) celebrates with teammate Alex Buttell after scoring a run during the fifth inning against Barrington on Thursday at the Class 4A Larkin Regional. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:17AM
Close games haven’t been particularly kind to Elgin this season, so the Maroons went ahead and turned a nail-biter into a rout Thursday.
Third-seeded Elgin piled up eight runs in the top of the seventh inning to break open a tie game as it knocked off second-seeded Barrington 12-5 in the semifinals of the Class 4A Larkin Regional.
The eight-run uprising marks the most runs scored in an inning this season by the Maroons, who also matched their highest single-game scoring output of the spring. Elgin (13-23) sent 12 batters to the plate during the seventh and pounded out six hits while taking advantage of three Broncos errors.
Senior Derek Strohmaier had two hits during the rally and finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI as the Maroons secured a spot in the regional championship game against top seed South Elgin at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s a good time to score the most runs you’ve scored in a game all year in the regional,” said Strohmaier, who reached base in all five of his at-bats. “(The eight-run inning) felt amazing. We’ve been struggling all year to score runs, so it was nice to go ahead and tack a bunch on the board and have that big lead.”
Elgin went hitless through the first three innings against Barrington starter Frank Waliczek as the Broncos grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on Justin Gitelis’ RBI single. Elgin tied the score at 1 in the top of the fourth on Kiko Mari’s sacrifice fly, but Barrington (18-15) quickly regained the upper hand as Macray Poidomani drilled a three-run home run to straightaway center with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to put his team ahead 4-1.
The Broncos once again couldn’t protect the advantage, though, as the Maroons came right back with three runs in the top of the fifth to tie. Gage Teschner had an RBI double, Jake Bartelt drive in a run with a sacrifice fly and Elgin capitalized on two Barrington errors in the fifth.
“Baseball is a strange game and it’s about which team is going to take advantage of mistakes,” Barrington coach Jim Hawrysko said. “Elgin did a great job of doing that. They did things right when they had guys on base.”
Added Strohmaier: “We’ve been down in countless games, but coming back has kind of been our thing. We’re the underdogs, and we kind of like it down there because we scrap and fight.”
Waliczek (5-5) took the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits. He struck out six and walked four before being lifted after facing three batters in the seventh without recording an out.
Poidomani finished 2-for-3, Scott Nelson was 3-for-4 and Justin Dragosz was 2-for-3 with an RBI for Barrington, which may have caught a bad break in the bottom of the sixth with the score tied at 4.
Dragosz led off the inning with a double and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt. Poidomani then came to the plate with one out and appeared to foul a pitch off in front of the plate, but he was thrown out at first as the umpiring crew ruled the ball to be in play despite Hawrysko’s protest. Waliczek was then hit by a pitch before Ryan Lidge sharply grounded out to first to end the threat.
“Did it hurt us a little bit? Well, yeah,” Hawrysko said. “(Lidge) had a good at-bat and hit the ball well. You just want that ball hit with one out.”
Eric Daly (2-6) was the winning pitcher for Elgin after holding the Broncos scoreless in his two innings of work in relief of starter Alex Doty, who allowed four runs in four innings before leaving the game with blister on his throwing hand.
Chris Edwards (2-for-4, three runs), Teschner (2-for-4, two RBI) and Bartelt (two RBI) were among the other offensive leaders for the Maroons, who will be in search of their first regional title since 1995 on Saturday against the Storm.
“We expected to win from the get go,” Elgin coach Dave Foerster said. “Our mantra has always been seven innings, and we knew if we played seven innings we’d be in good shape.”